We Found an Apartment!

Today we went to the leasing office to sign papers and pick up the keys to our new apartment! :-) It’s a 1-bedroom in the Castro/Noe Valley neighborhood. It’s up on top of a hill (and on the 3rd floor), so we get a great view of the city. We’re very excited! Hopefully we’ll get to move in next week.

And this is our street (steep, huh?)

Full of Schmidt

I ate dinner tonight at a place called Schmidt’s (http://schmidts-sf.com 2400 Folsom St). It’s a German restaurant that has at least 25 different German beers on the menu to pair with sausages, bratwurst, kielbasa, etc. The food was excellent and the staff is super friendly. They also serve brunch on the weekends.

Forgive me. I don’t know how do to flash photography at a window.

I may be biased about the restaurant because I was dining with such fine company.


Alamo Square Park

My new favorite place in SF: Alamo Square Park. This is the famous park from the Full House opening (omgosh, Bob Saget sat on this grass!). But I liked it for so much more than just it’s repuation.

First of all, the view is amazing all the way around. So if you go, don’t just stand there and gawk at the Full House houses. Walk around and check out the other amazing sights. To the East, you can see the Transamerica Building. To the north you can see the Archbishop’s Mansion, where the Russian and German Imperial Consuls lived in the early 1900s (thanks wikipedia!). It’s now a hotel. And to the west you can see (and hear the bells of) St. Ignatius Church.

Second, I like the park because it’s clean. I have been really impressed with all the parks I’ve visited in the city, in fact. I can tell that San Francisco thinks parks are important and makes an effort to take care of them. Even the bathrooms at the park are clean! There are other amenities too. There’s a playground, a tennis court, and a dog park. The park even has doggie drinking fountains.

Shoe art:

So, if you ever come to visit us (please do!), know that we wil be having a picnic at Alamo Square Park while you are here.

Kim’s Brilliant Tip of the Day:
If you are planning on a lot of walking around, DO NOT WEAR A SKIRT! Skirts were not made for walking. Boots were.

Better Than In & Out

I was just looking at the pictures I took on Friday, and realized I left out some important stories. So, this is the second part of Friday’s post. If it was a movie, I’d call it Apartment Hunting 2: Electric Bugaloo.

I ate lunch at a place called Burger Meister (www.burgermeistersf.com 138 Church St). It’s a tiny place next to the SafeWay (the supermarket). They are famous for, you guessed it, hamburgers. You can make your own hamburger with all your favorite toppings, or you can order one of their pre-made creations. I ordered the Meister Burger that comes with bacon, cheese, avocado, grilled onions and mushrooms. It was delicious!! And I couldn’t believe that the hamburger itself was the best part. It was so juicy and flavorful. All the toppings were just extra. I highly recommend this burger joint! And the fries are delicious too (and I mean that. I am a huge french fry snob). Just be warned. It’s a little expensive ($11- $13 for a hamburger).

Let me give you a few tips for eating at Burger Meister: (1) don’t order the meister burger. The onions and mushrooms were wonderful, but I couldn’t taste the avocado at all. If you go, order the San Francisco burger because it comes with onions and mushrooms. Then substitute cheddar cheese instead of bleu cheese. That way you get the same effect as the meister burger but it’s $2 cheaper. (2) Don’t order a soda. The sodas are $2.55. The burgers are expensive enough on their own. Order a soda and you may need to take out a second mortgage on your home.

The last apartment that we saw on Friday was in the Sunset district. This area is on the far west side of the city, near the ocean. The apartment was nice enough, but it’s really far from everything that’s important to us. But it was cool because we ended our long, exhausting day on the beach, WATCHING THE SUNSET!!! :-D It was a wonderful way to end the day! Then we got a couple slices of pizza and took the bus home.

My husband and me at the beach!

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Today is our big apartment hunting day. We have seen 6 places so far and have one more appointment this evening. I have seen so much already today that I don’t know how I’m going to tell it all. But here’s what I can tell you: let’s call it a guide to finding an apartment (disclaimer: we haven’t actually found an apartment yet, so this may be a load of crap).

1. www.padmapper.com
This website is awesome because it takes all the apartment listings on CraigsList and puts them on a map. You tell it what city you’re looking at, then you can filter your search results by price, number of bedrooms, etc. There are additional features that set this site above the rest. You can tell it to filter the results based on where you work (i.e. 20 minute drive to google). And you can set it so it emails you with new search results. This website is an essential tool for anyone searching for an apartment.

2. Make 1000 phone calls.
I sat at the kitchen table in my pajamas all day yesterday looking at apartments on my laptop and making phone calls. It was a chaotic, draining, phone-tag, mind-numbing process. But it had to be done. At the end of it all, I had made 6 appointments (we made a 7th appointment during the day today).

3.Wear comfortable shoes.
I know that a lot of my readers do not live in a big city, so this may be hard for you to understand. In SF, there is absolutely nowhere to park. So you can forget about driving around town looking for an apartment. Luckily, we scheduled 3 in a row right in the same area so we took a cab to the first then walked to the other two.

4. Bring lots of cash.
We had to take a taxi to 3 of our appointments because we haven’t figured out the bus system yet. And it is not cheap and they are hard to find (because you’re not always on a major road). I recommend the Magic Taxi iPhone App for situations where you’re not sure how you’re gonna get a cab.

5. Jump through their hoops!
If a property manager emails you and says you need to fill out an application, print out your credit report, make a photo copy of your driver’s license, and bring them to your appointment, do it. Then have all the applications in a folder in your purse (or briefcase?) in order of viewing. That way, you don’t look like an idiot fumbling through your bag, while the property manager taps her toes and looks at her watch.

6. Make a Pro/Con List.
I know you all know how to do this, so I won’t bore you with instructions. I love Pro/Con Lists!!! It is a great way to remind yourself of things you liked and didn’t like and then weigh which details are more important and less important. For example, we looked at an apartment today that didn’t have any 3-pronged electrical outlets. It only had the 2-pronged kind. I can name at least 12 things that I own that require the 3. So this detail went on the Con side. But then I googled it and found out that you can call an electrician and get your outlets changed. So then that becomes less of a big deal. See?

7. Go with your gut feeling.
After careful examination of your pro/con list, think about which apartment you walked in and said “Cool!” That’s important. It’s really important that you choose an apartment that you love, regardless of location, or price, or the existence of a pool.

This is the view from the living room of our favorite apartment.

BUMR

I saw this sign while walking down the street and it made me laugh. I don’t know the artist’s intent, but I interpreted like this: You’re driving along at an enjoyable speed, when you see a sign that says “BUMP” and what is your first thought? Bummer.

Yesterday I enjoyed a perfectly picturesque San Franciscan day. I sat at a cafe and drank coffee and blogged on my laptop (apple, of course). Then I went to the park and read my book and watched the dogs growl at each other…I mean, play. Then I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner. It was magnificent! The only complaint I have is the weather. At about 2PM, it was hot outside, and I was sweaty. Then around 8PM, the sun set and it got cold. And I mean COLD. Note: please don’t write anything in the comments about wearing layers. I understand the concept. My problem is that I had to carry my sweater around waiting for it to be chilly enough to wear it.

Duboce Park:

OK. The Italian restaurant. You know I’m gonna talk about it. It was called Cafe Altano (www.cafealtanosf.com 602 Hayes St.). The menu carried several standard Italian dishes, and the wine list was very impressive. My husband had pizza and said it was quite good, and I had butternut squash ravioli that seemed to melt in my mouth. It was very decadent. But I was very confused by this restaurant, and I don’t like to be confused. The sign out front was the beginning. The A’s in Altano looked like the greek letter lambda. Then you go inside and there are paintings from scenes off the coast of Greece. So what’s the deal? Greek decorations and Italian food? I guess they assume that most of their customers won’t be able to spot Greek decorations, and frankly, most people don’t know the difference anyway. Their slogan should be “Cafe Altano: Because Americans are Stupid.”

Church of the day:

Oh The Things You’ll See

Yesterday, I went into the city for a job interview. Hooray! The interview went really well, and the people seemed very interested in me. I should hear something by Friday (so stay tuned). The coolest thing about this job is that it’s just a few blocks away from my husband’s job in the Mission District. So we could (potentially) get an apartment and both of us could walk to work (oh if only I had a crystal ball).

I had some free time before my interview, and spent the time wandering around and exploring the area. During my 45-minute walk, covering 5 square blocks, I saw more interesting things and people than I’ve seen in the previous 26 years of my life combined. I saw a dog in a doggie wheelchair, a fortress-looking building that was guarded by 5 beefy-looking dudes, a man dressed like a woman (at least I hope it was a man. Otherwise, she was a very unattractive lady), and an elliptical machine bicycle. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of any of these! But please don’t get worried about me. I have been educated about the parts of town to avoid, and I make sure to stay alert while walking around. No texting, talking on the phone, etc. And I’ve noticed that everyone pretty much keeps to themselves. They don’t want to be bothered, just the same as me.

While walking yesterday, I decided that I’m going to start collecting pictures of churches. I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with them, so for right now I’m just taking pictures. Check this one out that I saw yesterday! Isn’t it a beauty?

After my interview, I met my husband and some other guys at Mission Beach Cafe (www.missionbeachcafesf.com 14th and Guerrero St). We just had coffee, but the menu looks very appealing. A friend of mine says that the food there is really good, especially the Sat/Sun brunch (there’s usually a long line). I’ll have to go back I guess. We stayed in the city long enough to see the sunset, and then headed home to rest up for another exciting day!

Escape with Crepes

Today my husband and I went into San Francisco to look for an apartment. I found out that looking for an apartment in a big city, is very different that looking in a small city.

  1. Big city = more apartments.
  2. More apartments = more crappy apartments.

And it’s very hard to look for an apartment when you are staying a 1-hour train ride away from the location of choice. But we had a good experience today and saw a lovely apartment in “the mission district”. This is the location that he and I are focusing on because it works out really well for his job. Now we are waiting to see if we get approved. (I disapprove of this process).

After looking at the apartment, we went to lunch. I’m very excited that I get to share my first restaurant review!! We went to a place called Crepevine. It’s on Church St  in the Mission/Dolores neighborhood. The menu features both savory and sweet crepes, as well as big, giant, unfinishable salads. I had the Tuscan Crepe that comes with chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, and feta cheese inside. It was AWESOME!!! I mean, seriously good! So if you are ever in the area you should definitely check this place out. They also have locations in Oakland, Berkeley, Burlingame, etc.  www.crepevine.com.

After lunch we went north to the “North Beach” area and walked (I mean, hiked) up Greewich St to Coit Tower. This landmark is a must see if you are visiting SF. You hike up this big hill (I found out later that you can drive up the other side) and when you get to the top, you can see all of San Francisco!! It is beautiful!!

OK. That’s all for today. I am learning quickly that living in San Francisco is going to be very VERY cool.

I’m Here!!!

As of 11:15pm on September 16, 2010, I am a California resident.  Specifically, San Francisco, California.

The purpose of this blog is to show you how cool it is to live on the west coast. If it turns out to be uncool, I will delete this blog an apologize profusely.

Right now, I’m staying with family in Atherton, but eventually hope to live in downtown SF. I walked around downtown Menlo Park today. I got an iced tea at Peet’s Coffee and Tea, browsed the inventory at Foster’s Used Bookstore, and stopped in Cheeky Monkey toys.

Deciding on a name for this blog was especially difficult. I knew I wanted it to come from a song, but which one? I listened to “sittin on the dock of the bay”, and I love that song, but it’s not what I’m looking for. Carole King’s “back to california” is a great song, but this is my first time in CA, so I can’t say I’m going back. “Don’t forget to leave a flower in your hair”? What does that even mean? I even considered Tupac’s “California Love”… I was getting desperate at that point.

Finally! I found the perfect song to capture this blog and the way I feel about relocating!! I present, for your listening pleasure, “Save Me, San Francisco” by Train.

Here are the lyrics and the music video:

I used to love the tenderloin
until I made some tender coin
and then I met some ladies from Marin
We Took the Highway to the one,
up the coast to catch some sun
that left me with these blisters on my skin
don’t know what I was on,
but I think it grows in Oregon,
so I kept on goin going on right through
I drove into Seattle Rain
fell in love then missed the train
that could have took me right back home to you

I’ve been high, I’ve been low,
I’ve been yes and I’ve been oh hell no!
I’ve been rock ‘n roll and disco,
won’t you Save Me San Francisco’

Every day so caffeinated
I wish they were Golden Gated
Fillmore couldn’t feel more miles away
So wrap me up return to sender
lets forget this five year bender
Take me to my city by the bay!

I never knew all that i had,
now Alcatraz don’t sound so bad
at least they have a hella fine below
If I could wish upon a star
I would hitch a cable car
to the place that I can always call my own!

I’ve been high I’ve been low,
I’ve been yes and I’ve been oh, hell no!
I been rock ‘n roll and disco,
won’t you save me San Francisco’
I’ve been up, I’ve been down,
I’ve been so damn lost since you’re not around,
I been reggae and calypso
won’t you save me San Francisco’

To tell you the truth
I miss everything, everything
It’s a wild, wild beautiful world
but there’s a wide eyed girl back there
and she means everything, everything,

I’ve been stop
I’ve been go
I’ve been yes and I’ve been oh, hell no!
I’ve been rock and roll and disco,
won’t you save me San Francisco’
I’ve been up,I’ve been down,
I’ve been so damn lost
since you’re not around,
I’ve been reggae and calypso,
won’t you save me San Francisco

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